Everyday Semiotics

Thursday, August 21, 2008

'allarming news about the artic melting' (sic)

Northampton Media posts this rant sent by a rather militant Doubting Thomas to a climatologist:
i have checked out your allarming news about the artic melting away, and became very concerned for your health, i,m convinced that you and your colleges are sniffing the wrong glue and may have allready done massive damage to your very small brains, its obviously clear that your all fucked in the head and should seek some type of thearapy, i suggest you all start by BEATING YOUR HEADS AGAINST A GOOD SOLID OBJECT for as long as you can keep doing it. then go back to smokin pot, like you must have done for most of your mentaly retarded cariers. then if that doesnt work try puttin a gun to your head. you and all your tree huggin buddies can fuck offf with your global warming shit.
I'll spare you the full text; it gets a little redundant.

I'm puzzled that someone actually took the time to sit down and write this. Much like I was puzzled by the eagerness of anonymous posters to duke it out on the T&G's website (now 96 comments on the transgender janitor story -- evidently many were nixed by the webmaster as there were over 250 this afternoon).

Here again are unique environments giving way to unique forms of discourse, er, rants. (Cf. the lockerroom tirade, the press conference equivocation.)

What gives rise to the written rant and the anonymous bulletin board post as recurring, established genres of discourse? From whence does the individual author of such discourse derive satisfaction?

What's needed, I think, is an investigation of apostrophe (that is, the form of rhetoric in which the speaker addresses an absent person, not the punctuation mark). More later.

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